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 How to make a learner THINK for themselves

Teaching is an art and a skill, which not everyone has the ability to do, as we are all good at different things in life, and teaching people to drive is rewarding aswell as having challenges along the way.

I recently undertook a small study with some of my clients, watching how they respond to the instructions I give them, how they process the information, and finally how they put that information into practice. Most of the pupils would process the information and speak out loud, some would be thinking quietly in their minds, but on the whole they both successfully completed the basic tasks. One of the area’s each pupil seemed to lack was forward planning, Observations of the new road they were entering and not taking in signs, which is quite a vital part of driving, for safety of everyone.

I put some thought into this, in my own private practice, wondering how they can miss such large signs when entering new roads or when approaching roundabouts. I listened to what I was hearing in my own head, and when approaching a roundabout I could hear in my sub conscious mind, “Where is the sign”, “What exit am I going to”, “What lane do I need”, “Can I go” and so on. It dawned on me I was self instructing in my head, all be it my subconscious mind. I wondered what would it be like to not have any questions in your mind or a quiet mind. After some thought the conclusion was clear, if you don’t talk through things you don’t get the answers, and then PANIC or get STRESSED.

In general there are 3 levels of learning,  Cognitive, Associative then Autonomous, and as a Driving Instructor we start by using command style teaching, then to Questioning and finally to letting the pupil do everything automatically with very little input from us, making them drive for life ready.

The Command style is straight forwards, as they do everything in a sequence that is given to them, therefore controlling what they do. The second stage is questioning using leading questions to help the think  “What gear will you need”, “what signs do you see up ahead” “What lane is…..” “What signs do you see” etc. Approaching a junction one day I asked my pupil what was coming up ahead, and she replied “A give way T Junction where would you like me to go” so I gave her the instruction to turn left, which was onto a 40 mph road. She approached the junction well, and looked and then drove out onto the main road safely making progress upto 30 mph!!!, but not to 40mph, and seemed to stop actively thinking, once she had entered the new road. I asked her “What is the speed limit on this road ?” and she replied “30mph” but there were signs at the end of the road, and repeaters frequently, so why was she not seeing them. After some thought it was clear that the pupil would think about what was needed to be done, as soon as they had heard an instruction, doing all the things they needed, but once they had done all the different parts and entering a new road, would be thinking the job was done until another instruction was given, so did not have to think anymore, so I asked myself, “How do I get them to think all of the time ?”


LEARNER TAKE CONTROL EXERCISE

This exercise has worked very well, but has to be carefully controlled, as the pupil will be nervous on the outset, so try on quieter roads first.

At the start of a driving lessons with one of the pupils, I said that today, she would inform me of what was approaching ie traffic lights, roundabouts or end of the road junctions, and once they tell me what was approaching,  I would then tell them which direction to go, which is similar to the independent driving, but with a twist. I asked her not to tell me about junctions approaching on the left or right as would be continually saying Junction, Junction & Junction. All she had to do was say “Roundabout” or “Traffic lights” or “End of Road” and a direction would then be given. As mentioned the pupil will feel a little nervous as they are worried they don’t know where they are going, however it is no different to you saying “Pull away when safe to do so and follow the road ahead”. My pupil prepared the car, did all the checks and pulled onto the road and drove the car in a nice fashion, about 200 metres ahead were some traffic lights and she immediately told me “Traffic lights” so I gave her an instruction to turn left at them, and did not say anything further, leaving her in control. On approaching the lights I was watching her, and she was looking everywhere, her eyes were dancing from the road ahead and in to the new road, and she told me “It’s a 40mph road and the road is clear” she continued upto 40 mph and I could see her continually looking everywhere, she then informed me “Roundabout” so I told her to follow the sign for X, she approached the junction nicely, spoke out loud it was the 2nd exit ahead, then saying “I can go” she entered the roundabout and then told me the road she was entering was a 30mph. After 20 minutes we stopped for a chat, and she was very tired.

I asked her how she felt the exercise had gone and did it help, she informed me that she was tired due to  actively thinking all of the time, in case anything was missed, and felt that in control of the drive, feeling as though she was alone in the car, even though knowing I was there. It was clear that in their mind they were 100% responsible for the car and all of the thinking, not waiting for instructions, therefore no Lull points between one junction and another, so not switching off, or relying on the instructor.

Over the next month this has been tasked onto most of the pupils even earlier stage drivers, and the result is quite amazing, resulting in  very few signs or junctions being missed, because they are “Actively” THINKING. The exercise is also an excellent tool for the independent drive, as one pupil was in an area on his test which he did not recognise , however he was looking for the “Traffic Lights”, “Roundabouts” and “Junctions” before the examiner was giving the instructions, so had already thought through where he was positioned and what was ahead, this gave him advantage, so when the examiner gave the instruction, all he had to do was put into action everything, look at the sign which had already been seen and do the activity. The stress on tests seems to have been reduced, and  a lot of the pupils are feeling more in control, and not relying on the instructor/examiner, which is exactly what they need to drive when they pass the test.

 

Try it for yourself and see, and feedback to me would be really appreciated.

It has been debated for many years whether to allow LEARNER DRIVERS on the motorway with a qualified driving instructor.

There are many thoughts from both sides of the argument, which have meant this ruling being held up for the last 4 years.

The traffic on the UK roads is getting busier year on year with new drivers from all over the world being able to use our roads, and this is getting to breaking point with an increase in accidents and deaths.

For many years you have had to do your driving test and as soon as you pass, bingo you can go straight to the motorway without any training and very little knowledge is this SAFE for our future ?

There is also the argument that certain parts of the UK do not have a motorway close to them, so how would this affect the learner ? would it mean an introduction to a staged style of licence similar to the motorbike licence ?, so you have a P plate on your car allowing you to drive on roads but exclude motorway, and then a M once you have passed the motorway test.

Only qualified driving instructors who hold the ADI Licence (Approved Driving Instructor) would be allowed to take pupils onto the motorway not school of Mum and Dad.

How would it be regulated ? How many lessons would they have had to have had before they could be taken on the motorway ? a difficult question as everyone learns at a different pace.

 

Below is an article from #TheGuardian which discusses the full review.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/21/learner-drivers-motorways-department-for-transport

 

Motorway training would also limit the amount of close shaves as per this short clip on #YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A very interesting Infographic sent to us by http://www.tyre-shopper.co.uk 

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The Day in the Life of a Driving Instructor with Lendrums Driving School - Southampton!!!

Have you ever considered changing your career ?  bored of what you do ?  fed up working for others and being told what to do ? well this maybe the option for you.

In 2008 John Lendrum of Lendrums Driving School was exactly all of the above, even though he had a successful career with prospects and great salary, but this was not enough, this didn’t scratch the itch that he had, and he felt a new challenge was needed. Money and status is not everything and certainly does not bring happiness.

In 1997 John Lendrum  considered the path of becoming a driving instructor ,but decided to work overseas. John used to sit in the back of another driving instructors car and watch how it was done, and thought to himself “Wow that’s easy, all you do is drive around all day long and tell people what to do and get paid for it “ it’s that easy Right ? Not a chance. It is easy when you have people knowing what they are doing, they make it look like the easiest thing in the world.

In 2008 a National brand jumped on the back of the recession when many were being made redundant, and adverts were out there “Become a Driving Instructor and earn upto £30k, be your own boss, work your own hours” this led to the market being saturated by people training to be instructors, however this was short lived as many did not have the ability and sadly did not qualify and were left jobless. Lendrums are selective and only take on the people whom they know will pass the tests, not just take the money.

Below I will explain the role of a Driving Instructor and list the pros and cons before considering, but I would not change becoming a driving instructor and 8 years on am still loving it and the freedom it has given to me.

A typical day as a driving instructor can involve some early starts, evenings and weekends, however if your sensible with your diary you can work your week to make sure you get enjoyment to do the things you love, ie going out, going to the gym, spending time with the kids, time with family just to name a few.

The people you meet on the journey are varied and make the job interesting. Im asked frequently whether I get bored driving around the same places all day long, the simple answer is, it is not about the area’s it’s the people who are different on every lesson, and each have their own personality and needs, and everyone learns differently. Life would be so boring if we were all the same. Think of the excitement of being able to teach someone a skill that will change their life, and in some cases open up wider prospects and possibilities, just try to remember when you passed your test.

Your diary is key to a good day, as nothing worse than starting your day miles from home, and then the next lesson having to come back near home, we try to make sure that our working wee is logical and the less time travelling between lessons is the best, as you get time for the all important loo stop and coffee break.

The day sometimes starts about 0830 and sometimes finishes at 7pm and sometimes starts later or finishes earlier. I schedule into my day things I want to do, walk the dog, go for a run, watch the Tennis etc. I have spent many a year working flat out and wearing myself out, however you learn pretty quickly.

Lendrums Driving School believe in quality instruction to clients, and that should be paramount in any business right ? not always im afraid, some business are more interested in profits than they are customer satisfaction or happy instructors. The clients at Lendrums are looked after by a dedicated team of professionals of varying ages and experiences. Lendrums believe the instructor is an important asset and should be treated like it, they charge a low weekly franchise, they supply the graphics, pupils, roofbox, support and make the working life of an instructor stress free and enjoyable, with a key on the instructor making money, instead of the business being rich and instructor being poor, which is all to often in some of the big franchises. No limit on students and if you don’t want one, or don’t want a particular area, you just say and your not penalised or made to feel you’re a pain. Remember you work for a franchise but your self-employed it’s your business within a business.

A lot of franchises tie you into lengthly one sided contracts that don’t benefit the instructor, and also they charge a serious amount. The national brand John Lendrum worked for charged £339 per week meaning he paid just over £15k franchise in the year, meaning he had to work 20 hours a week before he made any money, that’s not good. At Lendrums it works out at just over 1.5 hrs a week for your franchise, why would you want to go anywhere else, and there is no contract. It is felt at Lendrums your treated like someone important and as a friend, and there are the get togethers which help all instructors bounce idea’s around and have a sense of well being.

The day is varied and can be very tiring, however rewarding as you have the best job in the world watching how you help novices develop into drivers, and the feeling when someone passes the test is the best, as you helped that happen, and they wont forget you as they recommend you for years.

There is a lack of driving instructors in the UK at present, in 2012 there were just over 46000 and now there is just over 40000 a massive drop. The market is booming and it is possible to make some good  money. Last year some of the Instructors made £45000, yes there were expenses but still a take home of just over £35k and based on a 35 hour week, got your attention now ?

Lendrums Driving School is expanding across the UK and by 2023 aims to have over 100 driving instructors in 10 cities nationwide, you want to be part of that don’t you ? of course you do.

Read the following link on how to become a driving instructor and contact Lendrums as your journey and career change could start right now, life is too short.

http://www.lendrums-driving-school.co.uk/index.php/driving-instructor-training-southampton.html

 

 

DON’T PUT OFF CHANGING YOUR LIFE – CONTACT US AND START THE JOURNEY TO A NEW CAREER

Do you have your Practical Driving Test soon ?

Do you know about the questions you may be asked which are called the "Show Me / Tell Me" if not then you can check out the questions on our website as there are 20 in total, of which you will be asked 2. The 2 questions may consist of 2 show me, 2 tell me or a mix.

The questions are not difficult and just need practicing, if your learning with Parents ask them to go through them with you in your car, or if with a driving instructor ask them to help you which im sure they will cover this topic closer to test.

If you get a question wrong you get a minor so it is not the end of the world, however with some study it is avoidable and you leave the centre with a clean sheet, it also sets you up for your recommended weekly checks, which you can also find on our blog page.

This blog covers what to do if asked what is under you bonnet, and shows you what the engine looks like aswell as the items you maybe asked, for example you may be asked to identify one of the following and explain how you check it is correct:

1; Engine Oil

2; Engine coolant

3; Windscreen wash

4; Brake fluid

 

Watch the short video below which shows the Mini Cooper D 2014

Please let us know what you think and if we can help any further.